Information about education in Helsinki for people arriving from Ukraine

Information about education in Helsinki for people arriving from Ukraine
Lapsi katsoo kiikareiden läpi

We warmly welcome all families to daycare services and schools in Helsinki. We also offer Finnish and Swedish language teaching for adults. Learn more how to apply for a daycare or school place. The best option for a schoolaged child who does not know any Finnish or Swedish is preparatory education.

Education for children and young people is offered free of charge in Finland. Every day in pre-primary education (education for children aged 5-6) and in school includes a warm meal free of charge. Children and young people get all learning materials and books free of charge.



Daycare and childcare services are subject to a fee based on the family’s income. Low-income families do not necessarily have to pay anything. In daycare, children get a warm meal every day.



Learn more about our education in Helsinki on our websites at hel.fi and infofinland.fi(Link leads to external service).

Early childhood education (age 0–5), pre-primary education (age 5–6) and basic education (age 7–17)

In the following sections, we describe the education services in Helsinki that children arriving from Ukraine can apply for. The best option for a child who does not know Finnish or Swedish is so-called preparatory education. The aim is to prepare the child for school in a Finnish-speaking or Swedish-speaking classroom. The emphasis is on gaining sufficient language skills in Finnish or Swedish, but other school subjects are taught too.

Early childhood education (daycare), age 0-5

All under-school aged children have the right to attend early childhood education (in daycare or similar). The regular processing time of an application is 4 months. If the parent or guardian is suddenly employed, the processing time is 2 weeks.



For questions on how to apply for a daycare place in early childhood education, contact the Service guidance for early childhood education at varepalveluohjaus@hel.fi(Link opens default mail program) or call +358 9 310 80488 (Mon–Fri, 9.00–15.00)

Playground activities

Playgrounds around Helsinki organise different kinds of fun activities for families with children. The staff members at the playgrounds welcome all newcomers and tell more about the playground activities. Some playgrounds offer Finnish language course for parents and guardians. Everybody is welcome to participate. In the afternoons, school-aged children come to playgrounds for guided after-school activities.



For more information about playground activities, get in touch with Ms Nina Vuori, tel. +358 50 3485351 and Mr Teemu Kariaho tel. +358 50 3485350.

Pre-primary education, age 5–6

Pre-primary education starts in August the year the child turns six. It lasts for one year and it prepares the child to school. Children have the right to go to pre-primary education at a daycare centre close their home. Ask the Service guidance for early childhood for more information about a daycare centre that offers pre-primary education at varepalveluohjaus@hel.fi (Link opens default mail program)or call +358 9 310 80488 (Mon–Fri, 9.00–15.00)

Basic education (schools), age 6–17

Basic education, or school, starts in the August of the year the child turns seven. All school-aged children permanently living in Helsinki have the right to go to school. Pupils who do not yet know Finnish or Swedish (our second national language) is offered a place in preparatory education for basic education. The aim is to learn the basics of Finnish or Swedish and to get to know what school in Finland is like.

For first-graders and second-grades, the preparatory education is organised at the pupil’s local school, which is usually the one closest to home. Deliver the PDF application form for preparatory education for basic education to the principal of your local school.

In schools that teach in Finnish, the preparatory education for pupils in the third grade or higher (age 9-17) takes place in separate groups. Teaching in these groups can take place in a different school and in another neighbourhood of Helsinki. 

Register your 9–17-year-old by filling out the online enrolment form to preparatory education(Link leads to external service). If you need help with the form, contact valmistavaopetus@hel.fi(Link opens default mail program).

To enrol in Swedish-language preparatory education, get in touch with a city's Swedish-language school.

For more information about preparatory education, get in touch by email at valmistavaopetus@hel.fi(Link opens default mail program), Pedagogical Specialist Ms Leeni Siikaniemi tel. +3589 310 86212

Learning Finnish or Swedish

In the following sections, we describe the different options to learn Finnish or Swedish.  If you wish to register or learn more, get in touch with:

Finnish courses: The Finnish Adult Education Centre

In the Finnish Adult Education Centre, Työväenopisto(Link leads to external service), you can learn Finnish free of charge or by paying a small course fee. There is a wide range of Finnish course available. Some are longer, some a shorter, some are organised in the daytime, some in the evenings, and they are spread around the city.

Swedish courses: Swedish Adult Education Centre Arbis

Swedish Adult Education Centre, Arbis(Link leads to external service) offers integration training for immigrants. The emphasis is on learning Swedish, societal studies and learning Finnish.

Upper secondary education

Upper secondary education in Finland aimed at young people age 16–19, but there are options for adult students, too. 

Upper secondary education can be completed in one of two study tracks. The two choices are general upper secondary school or vocational school and training. At the moment, most of the study options are offered in Finnish or Swedish, but there are some upper secondary education options available in different languages in the capital region.

General upper secondary education

Those who have completed basic education or similar education can apply. Learn more about general upper secondary education on our website.

Enquiries about general upper secondary education:

Admissions Office

tel. +358 9 310 89318 (Mon–Fri, 10.00–14.00)

hakutoimisto@edu.hel.fi(Link leads to external service)

Vocational education and training

Helsinki Vocational College and Adult Institute (Stadin AO in Finnish) offers vocational education in Finnish. A private vocational school Prakticum offers vocational education in Swedish.  Learn more about vocational education and training on our website. 

More information: Helsinki Vocational College and Adult Institute(Link leads to external service) and Prakticum(Link leads to external service).

Enquiries about vocational education and training:

Admissions Office

tel. +358 9 310 89318 (Mon–Fri, 10.00–14.00)

hakutoimisto@edu.hel.fi(Link leads to external service)

Guides, application forms and other useful links

Guides

Preparatory education brochures

Application form to early childhood education (0-5-year olds)

Application form to pre-primary education (5–6-year-olds)

Application forms to preparatory education

Useful links

Image: Jussi Hellsten

The article was published on 16 March 2022.

The article was edited on 17  March 2022 by adding the Ukrainian language version.

The article was edited on 7 April 2022 by adding information in English about upper secondary education.

Broken links and links on preparatory education were edited in the English version on 1 March 2023. 

Broken links and links on preparatory education were edited in the Ukrainian version on 2 March 2023.

The article was edited by moving the Ukrainian language version to a separate page on 27 July  2023.